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July 1st, 2008
June 1st, 2008

Quiz: What is a full-bird colonel?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is bilge?
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History for 7/1/2008
Birthdays: Louis Bleriot, Tommy Dorsey, George Sand, Charles Laughton, James Cagney, Princess Diana, Twyla Tharp, Carl Lewis, Jamie Farr, Sidney Pollack, Wally "Famous"Amos, Olivia DeHavilland is 92, Estee Lauder, Debbie Harry, Genevieve Bujold, Karen Black, Dan Ackroyd. Andre Crouch, Pamela Anderson is 41, Liv Tyler is 31

Welcome to July named for Julius Caesar. Before that the Romans called it month number five- "Quintilicus". They had a ten month calendar and ran out of names after Juno (June). So thank Julius Caesar that you don't have to celebrate the Fourth of Quintilicus.

330BC- Alexander the Great comes upon the body of his enemy Darius IV, the Great King of Persia. Darius was assassinated by several noblemen who thought it would make Alexander stop pursuing them. Alexander caught the assassins and had them executed. Their leader Bessus the Satrap of Bactria had his nose and ears cut off, then was tied by the arms to two bent trees that when released pulled his body apart.

1851-Painter James MacNeil Whistler applied to West Point Military Academy. After failing entrance exams he washes out and concentrates on becoming one of the most celebrated artists of the century. He later joked:" If silicon was a gas I’d be a major general by now!"

1858- Charles Darwin does a public reading of his theories on Evolution to the Linean Club in London.

1863- GETTYSBURG- the most famous battle ever fought on U.S. soil.
Confederate General Robert E. Lee decided to invade north into Pennsylvania and hopefully by threatening Philadelphia and Washington force peace talks. Union General Meade shadowed his movements. With all their cavalry away chasing each other the two large armies groped around blindly through the backwoods of Lancaster County. Rebel General Henry Heath stopped in the little crossroads town of Gettysburg to get shoes for his men. While there he ran into some blue uniforms up the street. "Go on boys, that's jes some Pennsylvania militia." Heath said. Actually it turned out to be the Yankee's elite "Iron Brigade". A nasty firefight brewed up and both armies started to boil into each other like a slow motion trainwreck. Union General Winfield Scott Hancock drew up his cannon in a hilltop cemetery for defense. The battle would last three days and Lee's defeat would be the turning point of the Civil War.
Through the screams and gunsmoke one could read a little sign on the Gettysburg Cemetery gate: " The Carrying or Discharge of Firearms on these Premises are strictly Prohibited".

1867-HAPPY CANADA DAY- By treaty Her Majesties North American Colonies of Upper and Lower Canada, Maritimes, Prince Rupert Land and diverse other holdings are incorporated as the Autonomous Dominion of Canada. This master plan to consolidate the British Empire's colonial administration was invented by Lord Caernarvon, who Queen Victoria nicknamed "Twitters."

1898- THE CHARGE UP SAN JUAN HILL. Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders take the Spanish fortifications on the two hilltops above the harbor of Cuba's second city, Santiago. His main attack was actually up Kettle Hill and the Rough Riders were on foot, and Teddy was not in charge, but it made great hardcopy. Roosevelt"s superior was elderly former Confederate General Fightin' Joe Wheeler, who occasionally mixed up calling the Spaniards-"Yankees". Teddy was so excited about being under fire that at one point he stopped before a trooper dying of a terrible abdominal wound, shook his hand and said: " Isn't this just a splendid day ?!" Equally engaged in the fighting was the U.S. Ninth Cavalry, the famed Buffalo Soldiers led by Lt. John Pershing, who because of his affinity for his black troops was already referred to as Blackjack Pershing. Artist Frederick Remington was there as a news correspondent as was author Stephen Crane and William Randolph Hearst. On the Spanish side was a young soldier named Pablo Castro, who’s son would be Fidel Castro.



1916- THE SOMME- During World War One while the French and Germans were stalemated at Verdun the British began the "Big Push" also known as the First Battle of the Somme. The British high command were so confident this attack would break open the stalemate and get them out of the trenches that they began training their men in open country tactics. But after four months of hell and one million casualties all they managed to do was move their trench line up just 5 miles. Twenty thousand men fell in just one day. The descendant of one veteran of the battle recalled his grandfather reached the German trenches and saw a dead Hun machine gunner knee deep in spent bullet cartridges. Young Captain Robert Graves was sent back to England for an operation on his deviated septum. He missed the attack while his unit suffered 60% casualties. Despite a terrible shrapnel wound later Graves survived to write books like " I Claudius". At one point he was in hospital with poet Wilfred Owen and A.A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh). Another lieutenant there named J.R.R.Tolkein was jotting down notes about old Norse-Celtic warriors and wizards for a future book. A documentary filmmaker was allowed to film the Somme assault but he had to stay so far away from the fighting that his best footage was re-staged later. Yet the finished movie 'Battle of the Somme" horrified the British public because no one had ever seen such ghastly scenes before, like a man killed on film going over the top -even though the scene was faked. The Somme became to the British psyche a symbol of pointless gallantry much as Vietnam became to Americans or Verdun to the French. Historian John Keegan said in retrospect the English sense of naïve optimism from the Victorian Era turned cynical after the Somme.

1941- Animation director Tex Avery stormed out of the Looney Tunes Studio when Jack Warner ordered cuts in the first Bugs Bunny cartoon, A Wild Hare. Boss Leon Schlesinger put him on a four week suspension without pay, but Avery had already lined up a gig at MGM.

1941- THE FIRST TV COMMERCIAL -During the live coverage of a Brooklyn Dodgers-Philadelphia Phillies baseball game the first FCC sanctioned television commercial aired. It was for the Bulova Watch Company.

1945- Bill Mauldin's wartime comic strip "Willie and Joe' ends it's run along with the European front line edition of Stars and Stripes magazine. Mauldin was once chewed out by General Blood & Guts Patton for making his GIs so slovenly and cynical. He felt it was a negative image of the American Fighting Man.

One of my favorites. "Hello, Artillery? I have a target for you, but you're going to have to be patient..."

Bill Mauldin's black & white brush work was amazing. Charles Schulz used to tell us " No one could draw mud and its effects better than Bill Mauldin." He was a great influence on cartoonists from Schulz to Oliphant. Unfortnately, when I finally met him in San Antonio a year before he died, age and hard living had debilitated his faculties, and he was pretty frail and incoherent. I wish I knew him in his prime.


1945- NY Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia read the Sunday comics section over the radio because of a newspaper strike.

1946- The first peacetime A-Bomb detonated in the Bikini Islands. The army wanted to study the effects of the bomb so they parked old German warships, buildings and dummys around it, as well as chained down animals. They soldiers nicknamed the bomb 'Gilda' after the Rita Hayworth movie. When Ms. Hayworth heard her name was being used to incinerate 1,500 innocent sheep, horses and elephants she collapsed in shock. The inhabitants of the island were removed and to this day the islands are uninhabitable. A cloud of radiation also killed the crew of a Japanese fishing boat in the area. But the island's name gave a neat idea to French designer Jacques Clauzel what to call his daring new ladies’ two-piece swimsuit.

1963-U.S. POST OFFICE introduced Zip Codes.

1970- Hanna & Barbera’s primetime animated series "Where’s Huddles?"

1972- Ms. Magazine started publication.

1981- The Wonderland Murders. Notoriously over-endowed porn star Johnny Holmes was implicated in a gangland murder. In a Los Angeles home known to be involved in drug dealing. four people were found beaten to death with a steel pipe. Holmes was picked up and tried as an accomplice but was acquitted. Hung jury.I’m sorry, I just had to say it! His fate hung in the balance! Okay, I’ll stop.



1996- the movie Dinosaur Valley Girls premiered.

1998- Barbara Streisand married James Brolin.
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Yesterday’s Quiz: What is bilge?

Answer: The lowest part of the bottom of the ship, where the two sides meet at the keel. In the old days leaking water, fuel oil, waste and other indescribable liquids would gather at the bottom- Bilge Water, and have to be pumped out- A Bilge Pump.


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